David Knight - 13th Jan 2021

Maxim Kelly teams up with South London alt-rockers Shame to create a masterful reimagining of archive footage for new single Nigel Hitter.

Applying deepfake technology onto film from mid-20th century child developmental research, Kelly drops the band - frontman Charlie Steen, in particular - into the world of vintage equipment, whitecoated medics and lots of babies, undergoing all manner of tests and examinations. It's all part of the project led by that man who introduces the film and has his name on the front of the hospital... Nigel Hitter, MD.

The effect of this clever refashioning of the past is both funny and creepy - which becomes more pronounced when the babies 'learn' to sing the lyrics of the song, and the human babies' number is increased by a painfully thin baby rhesus monkey. Now we are sliding into David Cronenberg territory of curious institutions, strange experiments and unfeasibly gifted toddlers.

You could also argue that the video is also a kind of reflection on the past year - a relentless testing of human behaviour, where the medical profession play a prominent role. It echoes the manner in which the song, which features on the band's new album Drunk Tank Pink (out on Friday, 15th January). As Steen explains, it started life as the band adjusted to being locked down at home, having spent much of their adult life on tour. 

“Nigel Hitter is one of the vital organs of Drunk Tank Pink," he says. "A necessary pulse. Focused on daily routine, repetition, and how extraordinary any ordinary task seemed to me after coming home from touring. A world of percussion and joy lies within.”    

And Maxim Kelly was clearly inspired by the lyrics in coming up with the concept behind the video. The way he has executed that idea into the finished work - with the help of his team, including DoP Franklin Dow, editor Charlie Reddie and VFX artist RoBert Chandler - is nothing short of a marvel.

MAXIM KELLY:

"I felt like there was a paradox at play when putting the lyrics into the mouth of a baby. It seemed both stupid and quite clever - which is usually the indicator of a good idea.

"From the 'Wheels on the Bus', to the udders that keep feeding, to tying the knot on their shoes and the clothes they grow out of, to throwing their supper up the wall, or a baby’s incompetence in singling out shapes for their 'shape-sorting toy'... it all somehow seemed to fit in an odd logic.

"The goal was to take all this randomly sourced footage and applying various post-production techniques to it, in order to create the myth, the legend, that is Nigel Hitter M.D.”

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorMaxim Kelly
ProducerStephanie Paeplow
Executive ProducerDaniella Manca
Director of PhotographyFranklin Dow
Focus PullerJuan Minotta
1st ADBen Keswick
GafferNoah Furrer
ElectricianCiprian Stroiny
EditorCharlie Reddie
Edit ProducerAngela Hart
ColouristConnor Coolbear
Grading companyElectric Theatre Collective
Grade ProducerOliver Whitworth
VFXRobert Chandler
VFX CompanyButterscotch Post
VFX ProducerFatima Ouklilane
CommissionerRobby Morris
LabelDead Oceans

David Knight - 13th Jan 2021

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